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Lecture 3

Melodic Structure, Harmony and Texture


Let the sounds of music creep in our ears:

soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony. 

                                                                            —William Shakespeare


The Elements of Music, part 3
Melodic Structure, Harmony and Texture
Over a five-lecture sequence, we are exploring the elements of music - music broken down into its individual component parts : Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, Texture, Timbre and Form. 
This lecture (Lecture 3) examines melodic structure, harmony and texture.


Topics covered:

  • the structure of a melody
  • what is harmony?
  • texture: the horizontal collides with the vertical
  • 3 textures:
  • monophony
  • homophony
  • polyphony


Objectives: learn to distinguish styles from one era to another

  • hearing structure in melody
  • hearing multiple notes in harmony
  • distinguishing textures:
  • monophony, homophony or polyphony?



  • watch lecture 3 (in multiple parts for quicker download)
  • review previous chapters, if necessary
  • read textbook, Chapters 3-4
  • regarding developing listening skills: you should be in the habit of developing your listening skills early in the game - the assignments will get more complex through the semester and you may find yourself unable to keep up. As simple as these early assignments may seem to some of you, they will help to keep you on the right track, and help you develop the skills required for a greater appreciation in listening to music, including the music that you listen to for your own enjoyment. Of course, those objectives are in total sync with the success you hope to have in this class. Remember that your ability to recognize the music on your CDs will be tested and will, of course, impact your grade.



Lecture 3.1

Melodic structure and harmony


Lecture 3.2

Harmony and phrase structure


Lecture 3.3

Harmonic progressions


Supplemental Video: What is Texture?


Lecture 3.4

Musical Texture